ARCTIC TUNDRAH, a Kanuk, Alaska story
By Voni Harris 1-11-11
part 2
(Click here for part 1)

Jack had laid his heart open in front of Tundrah, and she had accepted him, yet rejected him. She had wanted a relationship with him, but did not want him anywhere near her father.

He left the library, swinging his backpack onto his shoulder, and heading for his dorm just across the quad. Whatever Tundrah’s problem with her father was, it was a biggie, and she wasn’t talking about it.

Yet, in the end, she had given him her Dad’s phone number.


Jack flipped over the card he’d given her. Her father was Ed Simpkins. Ed Simpkins Realty? Looked like it. He owned the most successful realty company in the Mat-Su Valley of Alaska. He was known in the Valley for tough but fair business practices, and he was a Christian, according to one of his friends from church, who’d bought a house through Simpkins Realty.

That knowledge only increased the intrigue Tundrah held over him since they began working on the history project together. What was going on in that family, that a Christian man wouldn’t be speaking to his daughter?

He unlocked his dorm room door and tossed the backpack onto the bed, flipping open his cell phone as he sat at the desk. He dialed Mr. Simpkins’ phone number.

“Ed Simpkins here.”

“Hello, Mr. Simpkins. I’m Jack Clark, and I go to school with your daughter, Tundrah.”

“Ah. I see.”

“Sir, Tundrah gave me your phone number because I told her I wanted to go out with her, but that I wanted to talk to you first.”

The man didn’t know what to make of that, given the silence on the other end of the line. Finally, Simpkins said, “Well, Jack. I haven’t spoken to my daughter for a long time.”

“So she said.”

“Jack, I’m wondering why you asked her for my phone number.”

“Mr. Simpkins, I’m a Christian, and I’m not into dating a girl. I’m into building a relationship with her, and I don’t want to play with her emotions, which is why I want to meet her family and to have her meet mine. Early on. And Tundrah has caught my attention, for sure.”

Jack could hear the sadness in Mr. Simpkins’ voice. “You know my daughter’s not a Christian.”

No, he hadn’t known that. Hadn’t considered it anymore than the spelling of her name, since he’d seen her at Student Christian Fellowship.

Come to think of it, he’d never seen her at SCF after the free-pizza mixer at the first meeting of the school year.

He felt it in his gut. He understood why God didn’t want a Christian to marry a non-Christian: just the fact that they didn’t see eye to eye on something that basic was enough to preclude anything more than friendship. He’d had such hopes for a relationship with the quiet, intense Tundrah. 

“Well, sir, I plan on being a good friend to her, then. Until she’s ready.”

“I would appreciate that, Jack. Tundrah has a lot to sort out in her mind, and though I’ve not met you, I know she needs a friend like you, since she refuses to be a part of our lives. Mine in particular. What’s your major?”


“Kids need more men like you. You plan on coaching?”

“No, Sir. I want to teach history. I believe there’s no excuse for boring history, and I believe that you can see God’s hand on nations and people by studying history. I want kids to see that, too.”

“Good man! Listen, I’ve got to get to a meeting. When you see Tundrah, tell her we miss her, will you?”

“I will. Have a great day.” He didn’t know the story between Tundrah and her father, and neither one seemed willing to share, Jack could do nothing but pray.

He needed to hear a voice from home, so he dialed his dad’s cell phone.

“Hey, Dad! You know that girl, Tundrah, I’ve been telling you about?…”


Tundrah came out of her math class, to find Jack waiting for her the next day. He patted the bench next to him, and she came and sat down. her heart almost beating out of her chest. Maybe he decided not to call Dad, and we’ll just go out on a nice normal date.

“Tundrah, your father asked me to tell you that he misses you.”

Jack really wasn’t the give-up kinda guy.

“We had a nice talk,” he told her.


“Tundrah, why aren’t you and your father talking?”

She shrugged.

“I thought we were friends.”

She shrugged.

"Look. I’ve already told you that I’m not into dating, that instead, I want to find someone with whom I can slowly build a strong, forever relationship. That’s not possible between us.”


“Your father tells me you’re not a Christian?”

What does that have to do anything? “Yeah?”

"I am a Christian.”

“I’m not going to become a Christian for you!”

“I want you to give your life to Jesus in the worst way, but to do it for me would be to do it for the wrong reason.”

“So the problem is that I don’t meet up to your standards?” Tundrah could hear the spice in her words, but didn’t care.

“Oh, Tundrah, you meet my standards. Hear me on this. The problem is that from the get-go, we would disagree about the single most important thing in my life. That’s OK for a friendship, but it would not make for a deep, strong relationship, and that’s what I’m holding out for.”

“So what it boils down to is that Dad convinced you I’m not good enough for you.”

She heard Jack saying, “No, that’s not it at all…” but she didn’t stay to listen any further. She slung her backpack across her shoulder and stormed out to her car, jamming the keys into the ignition and pushing the speed limit all the way to her Simpkins Realty.

I’m NOT going to let Dad ruin my chance at a relationship with a man like Jack.

Ignoring Nellie, her father’s secretary, she stormed into his office. His jaw dropped open when his eyes met hers.

“Dad, we have to talk…”

He’d been waiting for this day.

The End 

More Short Story Tuesday next week…tune in right here.

Please, comment to let me know what you think, and please tune in for Word Nerd Wednesday tomorrow. I’m having a lot of fun with those blogs, and it’s fun for me to have you join in.